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蹭课文化风靡校园 New trend of auditing hits China

Auditing classes at university is an ideal way of learning or trying out new areas of study without committing yourself.

You can study alongside fellow students without any obligation to participate in formal assessments or gain credits for your degree.

The trend of auditing university classes has swept across universities. Recently, Fudan Postgraduate, a publication by Fudan University, even released a map guide on its campus. Altogether, it features 25 courses, including details of lectures, venues, times and recommendations. Students can design their own auditing route based on a handy map.

“It is relaxing for us to take individual modules or units on a casual basis without committing ourselves to completing those studies in order to gain credits, a degree or an award,” said Zhu Yanni, 22, a postgraduate majoring in environment management at Fudan University.

Zhu, editor of the guide, said that she has benefited from the trend herself – she successfully moved from a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry to her current one after auditing classes.

“Visiting classes helped me a lot. The teachers of outstanding courses seldom teach strictly according to textbooks, which is attractive to students. Their tutoring methods have expanded my mind,” Zhu said.

Other students audit purely out of interest. Shi Shuai, 22, a senior majoring in administration management at Shantou University, attended courses in economics and finance for one year.

“It is a great way to explore professional knowledge outside your major,” said Shi, who acquired the basics of accounting and finance management.

“When you study by yourself in a library, you can’t enjoy live group discussions or coursework particularly designed for students.”

Despite the advantages of learning in an open environment, university administrators remind us that there are still rules to follow.

Not all classes accept outsiders, especially minority language classes and science modules. These are often taught in small groups to ensure the effectiveness of learning, or require special equipment and individual instruction, which is only available to registered students who pay tuition fees.

Regulations vary across departments and universities. According to Huang Xiaoxiong, a journalism teacher at Fudan University, students need to ensure that auditing a class is permitted. “It is about basic manners. You need to let the teacher know about your existence,” he explained.

Even if a teacher allows students to audit a class, visitors should be careful not to occupy the teacher’s time.

“It’s polite to greet the teacher when attending a course. Participate in discussions, but do not distract others,” Huang added. “It’s okay to hand in homework assigned by the teacher, but expect general advice rather than careful correction.”

Auditing classes aimlessly or beyond one’s ability can be a waste of time, warns Xu Jun, 27, HR manager at Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group. “It’s good to audit some classes. But you have to manage your time well, as you can’t get any academic credit or formal recognition for these courses,” Xu suggested.

“Even though your interests are important, your degree is the first thing to consider at university.”


























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